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The US Department of Energy tracked where Russian coal left Europe

USA (bbabo.net), - In August 2022, the European Union banned the import of coal from Russia and domestic suppliers had to look for new markets. The US Department of Energy tracked the reorientation of flows.

“China, South Korea, Turkey and India are currently the largest importers of coal from Russia. From August 2022 to July 2023, these countries received more than 80% of coal exports from Russia, compared to 47% from August 2021 to July 2022,” the US Department of Energy Information Office reports, citing data from the Global Trade Tracker.

According to him, despite the reorientation and decrease in supplies to Europe (by 57%), coal exports from Russia remained virtually unchanged and amounted to almost 233 million short tons over the year.

“China and South Korea are historically the two largest importers of coal from Russia. From August 2022 to July 2023, China imported 104 million tons, up 73% from the previous 12 months, and South Korea imported 34 million tons, up 44%,” the US Department of Energy continued. The department noted that before the sanctions, Germany and Japan were the third and fourth largest purchasers of coal in Russia. But after the ban was introduced, Türkiye and India took their place.

“Turkey increased imports of Russian coal by 120% - to 30 million tons, and India over the same period increased imports by 159% - to 29 million tons,” the report says.

The US Department of Energy believes that limited railway infrastructure eastward from Kuzbass in Western Siberia is leading to congestion and delivery delays. Russia's largest coal transshipment port, Vostochny, is located on the Pacific coast and maintains a competitive advantage for exports to North Asia and China, but increased exports have created bottlenecks in railways and seaports.

“As a result, India used northern shipping routes from Russia, and total seaborne coal transport volume increased by almost 18% in the first half of 2023,” the US ministry added.

Independent industrial expert Maxim Khudalov notes that the situation with coal supplies at the beginning of 2024 may change in India.

“The decline in coal prices against the backdrop of rising delivery costs due to hostilities in the Red Sea makes the supply of thermal coal to India unprofitable,” says Maxim Khudalov. “However, history shows that such imbalances cannot continue forever, which means that we will soon see a shortage in the Indian coal market, which will push up coal prices on other markets.”

The US Department of Energy tracked where Russian coal left Europe